Da’wah in and among Pluralistic Societies

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As discussed in my last column, the process of Da’wah is primarily important for a Da’i and then for all humanity. The Da’i tries to save his fellow human beings from the eternal damnation in hell. And, this is the highest form of service towards humans. The world of ours today has become a global village with different kinds of diverse people. Da’wah among pluralistic societies aims at the presentation and propagation of Islamic faith in accordance with the psychology of these people. Here by pluralism we mean the plurality of religions; otherwise plurality is in nationality, race, and caste and so on. But, in the Da’wah , context we will say about the religious plurality. While classifying the groups there are mainly two groups speaking broadly; believers and non-believers. We have the firm and certain belief that the only way to salvation is the Islamic way as stated in the glorious Qur’an. So, the believers in Islam comprise one group and the rest are non-believers.
Before going further on we have to classify the group of believers in further sub-groups; staunch believers; Masses among believers; weak and hypocrite. The staunch are those who in Qur’anic terms say that our Lord is Allah and persevere, that is, show Istiqamat. Da’is should first and foremost prepare and train together these firm believers for giving impetus to their own Da’wah works. The staunch should acquaint themselves with different kind of ideologies to refute them but primarily making their Islamic grounds firm and strong. Second are the masses; they are not as firm as in their conviction. They almost follow the Islamic tenets or believe on the basis of emotionalism and traditional heritage instead of certain conviction as the staunch believers have. These people have to be addressed by Da’is creating a balance between the rational and emotional aspect. The certitude is to be poured deep into their hearts to make them staunch. Then, there are not weak or hypocrites in the Muslim society who neither have the emotional attachment towards Islam nor do they have the intellectual relation with our faith. These people usually remain hidden because of the societal fear and they have to be sorted out and their mental and spiritual diseases have to be cured by scholars.
Da’wah among Muslims include the call for going back to the original source of Islam , that is, Qur’an and Sunnah. Many heresies are prevalent in the Muslim society which has to be removed vigorously. Allah says: “You are the best community chosen for people, enjoining the right and forbidding evil and you believe (really) in Allah” (Al-Quran). Da’wah among Muslims includes that Da’is should make the Muslims understand that their right position is to propagate the right faith with continuity. And, Da’wah among Non-Muslims includes the fact that Muslims should keep in their mind, which is a verse from Qur’an: “It is He who has sent his messenger with guidance and the right way so that it will prevail on all other (false) ways” (Al-Qur’an).
Da’wah among non-Muslims, many classifications can be done but in nut-shell mainly there are three groups; Ahli Kitab (the people of the Book); polytheists and idolaters, and atheists. Taking in general all the non-believers the classification goes like this; the opponents; waiting and watching; un-heedful. The opponents should be addressed in the most positive manner and if converted they usually become the staunch followers in Islam as in the case of Hadrat ‘Umar(RA). The waiting one’s are those who are curious to learn and they can be addressed easily. The un-heedful ones are to be convinced to listen by giving stress to the life hereafter and the relation of Islam with the salvation therein. The false doctrines of non-Muslims should be primarily studied and then should be refuted. For example the Christian concept of Trinity is the weakest belief as there is no base for it in the Bible. Likewise other false notions should be refuted on the basis of scientific methodology and logical grounds.
In the books of Ahl-i-Kitab (Jews and Christians) and the polytheists (Hindus, Buddhists) there are many predictions about the coming of the Prophet (SAW). These should be highlighted and also the discrepancies and contradiction in the books and scientific errors should be shown with wisdom. Comparison of the Qur’an and its infallible teachings should be done with their books and superiority of Islam should be based on strong arguments. Atheists should first of all be given the holistic proofs for the existence of God according to their level of understanding. Once they believe in God then it is secondary and also important to show them the path of God , that is, what He wants us to be.
Last, in all Da’wah works and activities, Muslims should make their intentions clear, humble and for the sake of Allah.

—The author teaches at the Department of Islamic Studies, GDC Pampore. He can be reached at: dr.aashiqulislam@gmail.com